By Wang Qi, Sina English
Army chief Ri Yong Ho of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been relieved of all posts due to illness, the DPRK’s official KCNA new agency said on Monday.
Short as the news, it stirs the whole world in no time. “Rare,” “unusual” and “shocking” become the most frequently-used words in description of the news as Ri has been the most important military figure in the power echelon even after Kim Jong II’s death.
Even when the country attributed his removal to health problem, wild speculations around the secretive country are swirling rife in western media.
Some said the tornado-like decision would face a counterfire from the army while others saw it as a change sign of the military-led political circles. Such studying eyes from outside have been glued to DPRK recently.
Observers tend to take it a signal suggesting DPRK is heading to changes, which will be driven mainly by economic reform and opening-up rather than military confrontation, said Su Hao, an expert on Asia-Pacific security from China Foreign Affairs University.
Experts with East Asia Institute of ROK also suggested to the world, especially ROK and the U.S., that more patience be given to see clearer policies of the DPRK under Kim Jong Eun’s leadership.
Besides Ri’s removal, the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and the National Defense Commission of the DPRK made the decision to award General Hyon Yong Chol the title of vice marshal of the Korean People's Army (KPA), according to KCNA on Tuesday.